provoke

verb
pro·​voke | \ prə-ˈvōk How to pronounce provoke (audio) \
provoked; provoking

Definition of provoke

transitive verb

1a : to call forth (a feeling, an action, etc.) : evoke provoke laughter
b : to stir up purposely provoke a fight
c : to provide the needed stimulus for will provoke a lot of discussion
2a : to incite to anger
b archaic : to arouse to a feeling or action

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Other Words from provoke

provoker noun

Choose the Right Synonym for provoke

provoke, excite, stimulate, pique, quicken mean to arouse as if by pricking. provoke directs attention to the response called forth. my stories usually provoke laughter excite implies a stirring up or moving profoundly. news that excited anger and frustration stimulate suggests a rousing out of lethargy, quiescence, or indifference. stimulating conversation pique suggests stimulating by mild irritation or challenge. that remark piqued my interest quicken implies beneficially stimulating and making active or lively. the high salary quickened her desire to have the job

synonyms see in addition irritate

Examples of provoke in a Sentence

His remarks provoked both tears and laughter. He just says those things because he's trying to provoke you. The animal will not attack unless it is provoked.
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Recent Examples on the Web

That marks a contrast with his predecessor, Benedict, who provoked a storm in 2006 with a speech that unintentionally seemed to link Islam with a propensity for violence. The Economist, "Why Pope Francis struggles in Africa," 7 Sep. 2019 In the suit, Nunes denies sharing text messages sent by Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) with Fox News, a leak that provoked concern about his committee from senators on both sides of the aisle. Rachel Weiner, Washington Post, "Devin Nunes suing Glenn Simpson and ethics group, claiming conspiracy," 4 Sep. 2019 Israel mostly avoided killing Hezbollah fighters in Syria and attacking inside Lebanon, which could have provoked counterstrikes. Ben Hubbard, New York Times, "The Israel-Iran Shadow War Escalates and Breaks Into the Open," 29 Aug. 2019 The latest bourgeois fashions, with their crisp tailoring and functional simplicity, may not be any more affordable than the Vuitton sneakers that provoked the ire of the gilets jaunes. Jeffrey Westbrook. Styled By Will Kahn, Town & Country, "Bourgeouis? Moi? This Season Is Fashion's Rich Girl Revenge," 22 Aug. 2019 But global confidence in the Fed’s autonomy is such that no chair can move any monetary policy action that would provoke more than two, or in an extreme case, three dissents on any vote. Edward Lotterman, Twin Cities, "Edward Lotterman: Hooray for complexity in the Federal Reserve’s structure," 3 Aug. 2019 Our mission is to shine a light on abuses of power, producing stories of moral force that provoke change. ProPublica, "Calling College Journalists of Color! Apply for ProPublica’s Emerging Reporters Program.," 29 July 2019 Trump had long been skeptical of the nation’s intelligence agencies, which provoked his ire by concluding that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election with the goal of getting him elected. Zeke Miller, Time, "President Trump Says Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats Is Resigning," 29 July 2019 That's not to take away from Tammy's involvement, who still had a fair bit to do, and finished it cooly with a two-touch finish past Marc-Andre ter Stegen, which provoked some nice, sensible comments. SI.com, "Twitter (Over)Reacts to Chelsea's Pre-Season Victory Over Barcelona," 23 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'provoke.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of provoke

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2b

History and Etymology for provoke

Middle English, from Anglo-French *provoker, provocher, from Latin provocare, from pro- forth + vocare to call, from voc-, vox voice — more at pro-, voice

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Statistics for provoke

Last Updated

12 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for provoke

The first known use of provoke was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for provoke

provoke

verb

English Language Learners Definition of provoke

: to cause the occurrence of (a feeling or action) : to make (something) happen
: to cause (a person or animal) to become angry, violent, etc.

provoke

verb
pro·​voke | \ prə-ˈvōk How to pronounce provoke (audio) \
provoked; provoking

Kids Definition of provoke

1 : to cause to become angry Don't provoke your sister.
2 : to bring about The joke provoked a smile.

provoke

transitive verb
pro·​voke | \ prə-ˈvōk How to pronounce provoke (audio) \
provoked; provoking

Medical Definition of provoke

: to induce (a physical reaction) ipecac provokes vomiting

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provoke

transitive verb
pro·​voke | \ prə-ˈvōk How to pronounce provoke (audio) \
provoked; provoking

Legal Definition of provoke

1 : to incite to anger
2 : to provide the needed stimulus for

Other Words from provoke

provoker noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on provoke

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with provoke

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for provoke

Spanish Central: Translation of provoke

Nglish: Translation of provoke for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of provoke for Arabic Speakers

Comments on provoke

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